Alan Arkin, Who Won an Oscar for His Performance in ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ Dead at 89

Alan Arkin, a legendary and iconic actor best known for his roles in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966), died at his home on June 29. He was 89 years old at the time of his death and had a career that spanned eight decades – between 1957 and 2022.

His death was confirmed by his three sons – Adam Arkin, 66, Matthew Arkin, 63, and Anthony Dana Arkin, 55 – in an exclusive statement published by PEOPLE on June 30. They touted their father as a ‘uniquely talented force of nature’ and praised him for the impact he had on the lives of those around him.

“Our father was a uniquely talented force of nature, both as an artist and a man. A loving husband, father, grand and great grandfather, he was adored and will be deeply missed,” they wrote in the statement. A cause of death hasn’t been revealed, but he didn’t seem to be suffering from any major illness or disease. 

Alan Arkin began his acting career in 1957 with a small role in Calypso Heat Wave, but it wasn’t until the early 1960s that he found his stride in the entertainment industry – by then, he was already married to his first wife, Jeremy Yaffe. The former couple had two sons between 1956 and 1960 (Adam and Matthew). 

Arkin rose to stardom on Broadway in 1963, when he starred in the comedic play, Enter Laughing. He was nominated for and won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. The performance put Arkin on the map and earned him a big role in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966). 

That film earned him nominations for an Oscar (Best Actor), BAFTA Award (Most Promising Newcomer), New York Film Critics Circle Award (Best Actor), Laurel Award (Top Male Comedy Performance), and Golden Globe Award (Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) – the latter of which he won.

Over the next two decades, Arkin starred in films such as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1969), Popi (1970), Catch-22 (1970), Hearts of the West (1975), and Escape from Sobibor (1988). He was nominated for a second Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play when he directed The Sunshine Boys in 1972.

Alan Arkin Continues His Career Into the 2000s

Alan Arkin’s legendary career continued throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. He won three Critics awards (and three other nominations) for his 2001 role in Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. He appeared in numerous other films and TV shows before earning his role in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The film earned him his first and only Oscar (Best Supporting Actor), as well as a BAFTA Award (Best Supporting Actor), a Screen Actors Guild Award (Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture), an Independent Spirit Award (Best Supporting Male), and a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award (Best Supporting Actor). 

Over the past 15 years, he has starred in or been featured in various other popular films/projects – including Argo (2013) and The Kominsky Method (2019). His performance in Argo earned him an Oscar nomination, BAFTA Award nomination, Golden Globe nomination, and a Screen Actors Guild Award win.

Throughout his 65-year career in Hollywood, Arkin earned four Oscar nominations (one win), three BAFTA Award nominations (one win), six Emmy nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations (one win), eight Screen Actors Guild Award nominations (two wins), and two Tony Award nominations (one win).

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